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Here we go again
Why pass up some schandenfreude?
By: Richard Linde, Posted 10 February 2003

Each year, or more often it seems, Rick Neuheisel is a candidate to fill a head-coaching vacancy. Although rumors of his leaving make for cataclysmic entertainment in the media and for conflagrations on Internet message boards, there are a number of reasons he won’t leave Washington and take Steve Mariucci’s place with the San Francisco 49ers.

  • If Neuheisel should leave Washington, he would be the first Husky to take a pay cut to turn pro since Hugh McElhenny did in 1952 when he went to the 49ers.

    Reportedly, the cash strapped 49ers can’t afford to pay Neuheisel more than $1.2 million per year. Neuheisel can make as much as $1.82 million per annum at Washington, if incentives, a potential signing bonus (if he stays through 2007) and a $1.5 million loan are included.

  • Short of that he makes a guaranteed $1.42 million, which is not bad for four months' work during the football season.

  • The 49ers would have to bail him out of his contract with the Dawgs, repaying the $1.5 million loan and paying off a $600 thousand buyout.

  • Neuheisel needs to prove to himself that he can bag the five-star players the Trojans and Seminoles covet each year.

    During his stint at Washington, the NCAA has dogged him like a loose-ribbed mongrel with foul-smelling fur. After enduring house arrest this past recruiting season, he must be anxious to hit the recruiting trail again and give the onerous NCAA a kick in the ribs. He needs to prove to himself that he can woo a recruit’s mother as well as any coach in NCAA football can, and that he can make a last-minute pitch as enterprising  as Bobby Bowden’s was when he walked into Lorenzo Booker’s Port Hueneme home and gave his mother a big hug.

  • Rick Neuheisel has made explicit promises to recruits—and an implicit promise to this season’s recruiting class—that he would stay at Washington during their four years. Last season, for example, he promised Nathan Rhodes’ grandparents he would stay at Washington for, at the very least, Nathan’s matriculation.

  • Neuheisel, an offensive-minded coach, is on the verge of making his version of the West Coast Offense shine, so forget the 49ers’ version.

    He has a mostly veteran team returning, along with a most capable quarterback, Cody Pickett. Next season will be a down year for the Pac-10, and Washington has a relatively easy Pac-10 schedule; Arizona State is off the schedule and WSU, USC and Oregon are at home.

    Also, recruiting coordinator Chuck Heater braved the cold, Tule fog in the San Joaquin valley—where the most peripatetic of recruiters won't venture (so good for him)—to pull in an underrated running back, Louis Rankin, and an outstanding cornerback, C.J. Wallace. Rankin has speed and power, and Wallace will demonstrate that he has the running instincts of a Lorenzo Booker if he should be tried at running back. Incoming wide receiver Craig Chambers, like Reggie Williams, was a man among boys as a high-school phenomenon.

    Last but not least, with WSU grayshirt Carl Bonnell in hand—the marquis player of the Dawgs' recruiting class—Neuheisel could have a faster, stronger-armed version of Marques Tuiasosopo to bail him out of a bad season. If the WCO doesn't shine this next season, then he'll bring back the option in 2004. Why take a pass on all that fun?

  • Anyway, he's smarter than all the local reporters in the Seattle media combined, and that includes Art Thiel, so, with some schadenfreude in mind, why not stick around and torment them some more.


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